Overview of Section Resources

Section 1: Properties of Light
Students begin their investigation of light by observing that an object's shape and color can be seen only when enough light reflects from the object to our eyes. They use a cloud of chalk dust to see how light travels in straight lines. Finally, they experiment with flashlights in order to determine which objects are good reflectors.
Section 2: Making Shadows
Students compare the transmission of light through transparent, translucent, and opaque objects. They make shadow animals and explore how the orientation and shape of an object and a light source affect the shape of a shadow. Finally, they make shadow prints and design an experiment to explore the sensitivity of sunlight paper.
Section 3: Sundials
Students observe how their own shadows change during the day. Then they build a simple sundial and observe how shadows formed by the pointer change during the day and over a period of several days. They relate their data to the revolution of Earth around the Sun.
Section 4: Mirrors and Reflection
Students observe how flat mirrors reflect light in straight lines and produce inverted images. They compare reflection of light by smooth and bumpy surfaces. Then they determine how the angle between two mirrors affects the number of images that they see reflected in the mirrors. Finally, they compare the images they see in convex and concave mirrors.
Section 5: Lenses and Refraction
Students observe the refraction of light by convex lenses and learn why convex lenses produce inverted images. They also look at how lenses are used in various devices, such as projectors and telescopes.
Section 6: Fiber Optics
Students examine how light travels through optical fibers. They discover that even though an optical fiber may bend, light still travels within the fiber in straight lines. Students also experiment with changing the brightness and color of light as it travels through the fibers.
Section 7: Seeing Color
Students observe refraction of light by a prism and how it can produce a spectrum. They experiment with colored filters to explore how our eyes perceive color. Finally, students apply their understanding of color and light to design color puzzle messages.
Section 8: Blue Skies and Sunsets
Students use diffraction grating glasses to produce spectra from various light sources. Then they observe the scattering of blue light by particles in water and draw conclusions about such natural phenomena as blue skies and red sunsets.